Cover of the 1970 ESRO General Report © ESA
Opening of ESRO General Reports and the road from 1964 to 1975
Fri, 14/06/2024 - 08:24

The latest opening of material in our collections of historical publications continues our recent focus on 60 years of European cooperation in space: from today copies of the General Reports issued by ESA’s predecessor ESRO, from 1964 to 1974, are now available in the SHIP database.

ESRO, the European Space Research Organisation, formally came into being on 20 March 1964 with the entry into force of its convention. But as we considered earlier this year, this was the result of years of preparatory work by the COPERS commission, from 1961 to 1964. And in fact, this is also neatly summarised at the beginning of the very first report, covering the years 1964 and 1965, and putting ESRO into the wider timeline for European collaboration in space research.

With this opening, however, we turn our attention to the decade that follows, which takes us along the just-over ten-year road that culminates in the formation of ESA (and the uniting of ESRO with the other ‘original’ European space organisation – ELDO) in 1975.

During this time, the reports map the mixed fortunes of ESRO, from budgetary concerns and political machinations to the 1967 Bannier Report with its recommendations for urgent changes to structures and procedures. From the ‘package deals’ distinguishing between mandatory and optional programmes, satellite launches and cooperation agreements to the development of many of the programmes that would come to realisation under the banner of ESA. And, naturally, the construction of the administrative and political foundations necessary for the new organisation in the run up to May 1975 when ESRO signed off and handed over to its successor.

To help you pinpoint the relevant report for the topics that interest you the most, and as a quick reference for your searches in SHIP, we’ve created a year-by-year list of some of the landmark ESRO events in our highlight.

We are also delighted that with this opening, the required reporting of one of the two first European space organisations (under the terms of its constitution) is now available in its entirely online. The addition of this important resource is a major step towards our goal of making all formal reporting on European cooperation in space accessible to researchers, enthusiasts and the general public wherever in the world they are located.

Where to find reports

ESRO General Reports (1964-1974): find out more about the ESRO General Reports and how to browse the collection in SHIP
ESA Annual Reports from 1975
More recent ESA Annual Reports from 2019